CEDAR Bulletin 8 – Februrary 2014

The latest news from the Centre for Diet and Activity Research                          > Sign up for future issues

Food, income and education: who eats more of what? New infographic

Food, income and education infographic v1.2The types and quantities of foods we eat are influenced by our personal characteristics and also our social and economic situations. Income and educational attainment are particularly important in determining dietary behaviour.

Using data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, we have created a graphic that illustrates how UK food consumption varies for population groups differing in level of income and education against the national average. Explore the infographic here.

This is the latest in our series of Evidence Briefs. Find five more succinct research summaries at

CEDAR in the media: Boris Bikes and British Cycling plans

shutterstock_63541750Boris bikes: health benefits outweigh risks from injury and pollution
The London cycle hire scheme has had a positive overall effect on the health of its users by increasing physical activity within the capital. These benefits outweigh the negative impacts from injuries and exposure to air pollution, according to the results of a large-scale modelling study published in the BMJ by CEDAR, LSHTM and UCL researchers.

Contrary to some expectations, cycle hire users appear to be at no higher – and possibly lower – risks than other cyclists in the area.  Using background injury risks the benefits were clearer for men (who use the scheme more than women) and for middle-aged and older people (who use the scheme a lot less than younger people).  The study authors suggest that providing an environment that both makes cycling attractive to middle-aged and older people, and reduces injury risk could considerably amplify the health benefits.

Lead author on the BMJ paper Dr James Woodcock also contributed to the British Cycling plan to transform Britain into a true cycling nation, which was covered by a range of media including The Times, ITV, the Guardian and Cambridge News.

James also contributed to the BBC Radio 4 Programme Right of Way: Cycling and the City in which he talked about how the population health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks. Listen here

CEDAR in the media: childhood obesity and fast food outlets

shutterstock_161757296 SMALLChildren living close to fast food outlets more likely to be overweight
Children living in areas surrounded by fast food outlets are more likely to be overweight or obese according to new research from the University of East Anglia and CEDAR. New research looked at weight data from more than a million children and compared it with the availability of unhealthy food from outlets including fish and chip shops, burger bars, pizza places, and sweet shops.

They found that older children living in more deprived areas, which have higher density of unhealthy food outlets, are more likely to be obese. In particularly they are more likely to be overweight when living in close proximity to a high density of unhealthy eating outlets. For older children, unhealthy food outlets partly explained the association between deprivation and obesity but only by a small amount.

Research highlights

openaccessThe following are a selection of recent publications involving CEDAR researchers. All are Open Access.

You can search over 150 CEDAR scientific papers by author, journal, study, title and abstract keywords on our publications database at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/publications

All Open Access publications can be found at: www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/publications/tag/open-access. We have made good progress in increasing the number of our papers which are open access: in total 90% of CEDAR papers are freely available on the web.

CEDAR secures Department of Health Policy Research Programme funding

shutterstock_128750762CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit are among four organisations that have recently secured funding from the Department of Health Policy Research Programme for research into interventions to improve physical activity.

The CEDAR project focuses on the secondary school environment and how this may help young people be more active. It will increase our understanding of how secondary schools can help young people to move more and sit less throughout the school day.

The project will help us find out what strategies would be most effective, acceptable, and provide the best value for money. The strategies to be considered will focus on using mostly automatic rather than conscious processes – sometimes referred to as the ‘nudge’ approach.

The 3-year project will start in Spring 2014 and will actively engage with young people, parents, those who work in schools and have experience in bringing about changes in schools, and local and national stakeholders. We will seek their advice on study design, intervention selection and interpreting the results and prioritising potential strategies.  Please let us know if you’d like to stay informed or are interested in getting involved. Contact Esther.vanSluijs@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk 

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminars

shutterstock_124494247 SMALLCEDAR jointly organises a seminar series with the MRC Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge, a chance to hear from leading researchers in diet and physical activity, along with the occasional policymaker.

Details of current talks are available on our website and at talks.cam.ac.uk. To receive email notifications of the latest talks, complete the form at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/news/seminars/

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Questions and comments to Oliver Francis: ocf26@cam.ac.uk